The New Zealand Rugby Union has decided to leave the national provincial championship unchanged for the 2010 season.
The NZRU was looking to change the current 14-team Air New Zealand cup and 12-team Heartland Championship to a three-tiered ten-six-ten format to help the competition become more financially viable.
The likely teams to be culled from the premier division were Counties Manukau, Tasman, Northland and Manawatu, who were threatening legal action if the format was to change next year.
The NZRU Chairman Jock Hobbs says the current collective employment negotiations taking place with the Provincial Unions meant the proposed competition could not go ahead in 2010.
However, the NZRU has decided to leave the 2011 and 2012 domestic competition as the proposed three-tiered format, which will be subject to further negotiations.